12 February 2014 07:51

NICOSIA - The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request by the lawyer of one of the four men convicted in the Mari disaster trial for former president Demetris Christofias to testify in an appeal hearing.
According to former disaster response unit (EMAK) commander Andreas Loizides’ lawyer, new information regarding the case surfaced during an interview Christofias gave on Sigma television on December 4.
The lawyer argues that the information regarding instructions soldiers were given over the handling of munitions containers which caused the fatal 2011 blast has vital bearing on his client’s appeal case.
Appeal hearings for the other defendants are scheduled to take place on April 2, 3 and 4.
The Mari criminal trial which concluded in July heard the gunpowder which caused the explosion was seized two years earlier from a Cypriot-flagged, Russian-owned container ship that was suspected of trying to deliver it from Iran to Palestinian militants in Gaza through Syria. It combusted after having been haphazardly stored on the Evangelos Florakis naval base and exposed to the elements without any form of cover for nearly two years.
The Assizes sentenced former minister of defence Costas Papacostas to five years in prison for manslaughter while fire services officials Andreas Nicolaou, Charalambos Charalambous and EMAK chief Andreas Loizides each received two years for causing death through a negligent act.
Former foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou and former National Guard deputy chief Savvas Argyrou were cleared of all charges.
The tremendous blast killed seven sailors, six firemen and injured another 60. It also completely destroyed the island’s largest power station, the Vassiliko, plunging Cyprus into a costly energy crisis.


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